Last week, one of your convenience store clerks, working on the midnight shift, was seriously injured during a robbery. What can you do to prevent future incidents and keep your late-night workers safe?
Employers can start by using the following checklist, provided by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), to identify present or potential workplace violence problems commonly found in retail establishments. By recognizing the hazards that lead to violent incidents, and then implementing appropriate prevention and control measures, employers can help improve the safety of their late-night retail workers.
- Do workers exchange money with the public?
- Is the business open during evening or late-night hours?
- Is the site located in a high crime area?
- Has the site experienced a robbery in the past three years?
- Has the site experienced other violent acts in the past three years?
- Has the site experienced threats, harassment, or other abusive behavior in the past three years?
- Do workers have access to a telephone with an outside line?
- Are emergency telephone numbers for law enforcement, fire and medical services, and an internal contact person posted next to the phone?
- Are emergency telephone numbers programmed into company telephones?
- Is the entrance to the building easily seen from the street and free of heavy shrub growth?
- Is lighting bright in outside, parking and adjacent areas?
- Are windows and views outside and inside clear of advertising or other obstructions?
- Is the cash register in plain view of customers and police cruisers to deter robberies?
- Is there a working drop safe or time access safe to minimize cash on hand?
- Are security cameras and mirrors placed in locations that would deter robbers or provide greater security for employees?
- Are there height markers on exit doors to help witnesses provide more complete descriptions of assailants?
- Are employees protected through the use of bullet-resistant enclosures in locations with a history of robberies or assaults in a high crime area?
Administrative/Work Practice Controls
- Are there emergency procedures in place to address robberies and other acts of potential violence?
- Have workers been instructed to report suspicious persons or activities?
- Are workers trained in emergency response procedures for robberies and other crimes that may occur on the premises?
- Are workers trained in conflict resolution and in nonviolent response to threatening situations?
- Is cash control a key element of the establishment’s violence and robbery prevention program?
- Does the site have a policy limiting the number of cash registers open during late-night hours?
- Does the site have a policy to maintain less than $50 in the cash register? (This may not be possible in stores that have lottery tickets and payouts.)
- Are signs posted notifying the public that limited cash, no drugs, and no other valuables are kept on the premises?
- Do workers have at least one other person throughout their shifts, or are other protective measures utilized when workers are working alone in locations with a history of robberies or assaults in a high crime area?
- Are there procedures in place to assure the safety of workers who open and close the store?
Source: Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in Late-Night Retail Establishments (2009), Appendix A., Occupational Safety and Health Administration, http://www.osha.gov.